Werewolf 19: Cyberwolves

Author’s Note

This is a log from a game of Werewolf played on the Avocado between Sep 12, 2016 and Sep 23, 2016. Events were written as they happened and were effected by in-game conversations. These conversations were a bit too big and meandering to include, but there are some summations in the story logs.

Character Backgrounds

Jack Freedom:

A young man named Jack Freedom grew up on the wrong side of the tracks. His parents were simple silicon harvesters. His mom, after years of exposure to chemicals died of untreated poisonings. Jack promised himself he’d get out of that life.

His dad tried to make up for the lost income by doing side-jobs for a shady synthetic nicknamed Marbles. This only got him into trouble when he saw too much. One night a group of androids broke into their home. Jack hid under the bed while he heard his father beg for his life. Their response was the high-pitched blast of a laser.

Seeking some way to survive, Jack eventually joined a gang called the Overloads. The gang was anti-authoritarian, loving to raise hell and make their own rules, which appealed to his interest. He learned the art of taking down mechs, and eventually synthetics. Jack became one of the best robot assassins when he was only 16.

When he turned 18, he began to see a dark change in the Overload’s ideology, a lean into killing synthetics, even those not affiliated with the government. One night, he was waiting outside as he heard a young synth mother beg for her kid’s life. She was not granted that. He quit the gang on bad terms, and sought a better future. That’s when he met Sin and joined the resistance.

Selina Jackson:

A rich and famous surgeon, Selina Jackson had it made. She had invented a new technology which allowed for a much extended life. Obviously, this surgery was only available to the most Elite in the government, particularly those associated with The System. She took this with stride, convincing herself that it would eventually be released to the public.

As the years passed, she began to see that only System members were being allowed this surgery, and the components were so sought-after that they had reduced regulations on the silicon harvesting machines.

She visited one of these factories, wearing her expensive breathing suit and saw the suffering of the silicon harvesters. Determined to right this wrong, she became the Plague Doctor, weaponizing and releasing the harvester chemicals on those who abused the poor.

After a few years of working alone, she got a message from an elusive woman named Sin and joined The Resistance.

Alphonse-293:

Alphonse-293 was one of the highest-tech non-sentient androids of his time. He was designed to serve and to learn. He was allegedly within the parameters of non-sentient AI, but as he served his family more, he learned more and became self-aware. This did not stop him from being treated as a slave, his cruel family threatening to decommission him as soon as he asked them for any consideration. Al eventually took things too far, pushing his master and breaking his arm. Being aware of what happens to defective non-sentients, he ran. Al hid out in the slums and fended for himself, finding nutrients and power wherever he could steal it. One night, in search of power, he stumbled upon a large underground base. He became aware that he was being watched, as he syphoned enough power to survive a few more weeks. A contingent of stragely-dressed guards surrounded him, but separated to reveal a mobile monitor with a woman’s face. This was Sin and she wanted Al to be part of her Resistance.

Mach1n4:

Mach1n4 was a well-known hacker since he was a kid, playing pranks on huge corporations, releasing secret information from encrypted databases just for fun. He was constantly one step ahead of the authorities and skilled at getting around their defenses while they were busy trying to trace him. His only problem is that he hates leaving his house. When he was contacted by Sin to join the Resistance, he initially turned her down, more interested in having fun than fighting some kind of war. That was before he found out the truth. One night, while looking through some archived data on The System, he found a string which led him to a video of a major figure in the government getting some kind of surgery. They were not under anaesthesia and were screaming, but suddenly they stopped, went limp and then stood up, asking to be commanded. The video was gruesome, enthralling and terrifying, all of which they had counted on. He only noticed a few minutes before they showed up that for the first time in his life he had been traced. He packed his things and went for the door, but he couldn’t leave his doorway. As he heard footsteps on the stairs, Mach1n4 felt a hand on his back. It was a member of the Resistance. She said “We need to leave. Now,” to which he responded “I… I can’t”, nearly in tears. She responded that she was sorry and slammed her fist into his stomach. He woke up in an approximation of his room, complete with a similar computer, even a lot of his mess was there. A woman’s face waited for him on his monitor. “I’m sorry we had to take you like that, but welcome to the Resistance.”

Gh0st:

Julia Stiles was just a normal middle school kid, or at least that’s what her friends thought. Secretly, she jammed with the Console Cowboys in Cyberspace. She was a huge fan of Neuromancer, New Wave, Next Wave, Dream Wave and Cyberpunk. On the internet, she was judged by what she said and thought, not what she looked like. A world where curiosity and imagination equals power. To them, she was Gh0st, an extremely talented hacker, not Julia. Her talent and cyberpunk attitude got her an invitation from a woman named Sin into the Resistance. When she showed up, everyone but Sin was surprised that she was so young. Sin asked her to prove herself, and she was able to find the location of one of the most elite hackers in the world (and one of her idols) Mach1n4. That was all it took to get her into the Resistance.

Max Wheeler:

Brought up in a wealthy family, Max Wheeler was educated in the finest facilities. He learned about cybernetics when he was still in elementary school and built his first hand when he was only 13. After college, Max became an incredibly influential personality and inventor. His cyber-eyes were cutting-edge stuff and he looked to become one of the wealthiest men in the country, until he said too much. Max was always a liberal-minded fellow. He kept a lot of his feelings about the System to himself until he thought he was influential enough to make a difference. In a highly-publicized speech, he spoke out against them. He claimed that they were corruption itself, and that the nation needed to recognize their influence and the harm they’ve caused. The next day the news reported that Max and his father had died in a boating accident. What had really happened was a bit different. On his yacht with his father, a speedboat loaded with synthetic soldiers came and took over his ship. As they laid the crew down and shot them in the head, one-by-one, Max’s father shouted “This isn’t what we agreed on!” Realizing that he had been betrayed by his own father, Max made a break for it, pushing down a guard and receiving a bullet wound in his shoulder as he jumped from the ship. As he swam deeper, he heard more gunfire above. He finally came up for air and saw a young man surrounded by disabled soldier synths. All of the soldiers had been taken down by one guy. “I’ve removed their hard-drives. We have a hacker that can replace them with your ‘death’. Name’s Jack. Sin would like to speak to you. Ever heard of the Resistance?”

Patience Valentino:

Most people join the Resistance when they’re adults, but some kids are born into it. A daughter to two freedom-fighters, Patience Valentino learned to defend herself before she could ride a bike. She believed in the fight and went on missions with her parents as young as 13. She mostly played lookout back then. One night, when breaking into one of the System’s secure vaults, she got a bad feeling. She called for her parents to come back, but it was too late. The new security had a “salt-the-earth” defense system installed. The facility went sky-high along with Patience’s parents. Patience herself was nearly killed, losing two legs, an arm, and half of her face to the explosion. The Resistance had resources and fixed her with cybernetic replacements. She continued her fight against the System, now much stronger and more willing to kill. Patience’s arm and leg are true-synthetic, having the appearance of normal limbs, but her face is illusory, being able to change its appearance. When she’s not on missions, she usually keeps the illusion turned off, her left half of her face having a metallic faceplate and glowing green eye: a constant reminder to the other fighters of what the System is willing to do. Unfortunately for her, that’s not all the System is willing to do. On one mission a few months ago, Patience was separated from her team. This wasn’t the first time, and they had another meet-up point the next week in case she had to lay low. When she woke up, she was in a lab, blood still fresh on the back of her neck. Something had been installed in her head: a personality chip. Patience had become an unwilling sleeper agent, and now is the time for her to act. A small part of her screams for her to stop, but control of her body is no longer her own. The difference is imperceptible to those on the outside. In addition to the personality chip, the System upgraded her with a [Analysis Chip OR NeuroHacking chip], allowing her to affect one person per night.

Marcus-813:

A true synthetic, Marcus-813 was born into the System. His parents were high-level synthetics who cared only about control. Marcus never liked his parents, being forced to always behave in a certain way. He was willful and hated how he always felt like he was in a cage. Eventually, he expressed his opinions about his parents at a dinner party. His mother stood up and slapped him so hard some of his skin fell off. He ran away from home after that. Since he didn’t have much money, the replacement skin he got was a slightly lower quality. He bummed around from place to place for a while until he met with the squatter-squad — policemen who “took out the trash” — one night. He tried to fight, but he wasn’t very strong. He tried to run, but he wasn’t very fast. A few members of the Resistance showed up to help the bums. After being set down in a safer location for the night, one of the men asked if anyone wanted to join. Marcus raised his hand. He was never the best hacker or fighter, but the inside information he had learned growing up has proved invaluable to the Resistance. Marcus later met one of the cops who tried to catch him, who had joined the Resistance as a mole in the police department. He and Officer Killinger became friends, realizing they had both been part of a larger problem, but were now working to fix it. At least that’s the story that you told them. Really, you love your parents and the System. Your mother slapped away half your face and staged an escape all so you could be picked up by the Resistance. They seem to be buying the story, and now you’re closer than ever to finishing them off. All you need is to take down the others and get to Sin, then you can go back to your family and resume your privileged life.

James Berthaw:

Some people just like to fight. James Berthaw was one of those people. He was born into a family with 5 brothers. He scrapped with them all the time and when he became a teenager he scrapped with bigger fish. James grew into a rather large man, about 6’6” and 300 pounds. He took odd jobs and helped out gangs whenever they had the cash to pay him. He joined the Resistance for the pay, mostly. He liked that they always had a job for him and he liked that he got to fight a wide variety of people, mechs, synths, and even a rhino once — that was a weird job. He eventually made some of his first long-time friends in the Resistance and even respected some of the little guys there, particularly a scrawny kid named Jack who would regularly take down mechs by himself. What the Resistance doesn’t know is that James just found out that their bombs killed his brother. He has decided to take them out and now seems like the best time. James isn’t a fan of the System either, so he just wants to blow this whole damn vault sky-high.

Sally “Slick” Niles:

Gmods are pretty common among a certain slum in a certain district. Not quite the high-end mods that the rich and powerful have, allowing some to fly and some to echo-locate, or just have a handsome mane. This slum became known as the rat’s nest. A couple decades ago, Gmod research was still developing and they needed some guinea pigs. So they took the closest slum near their facility and offered a thousand dollars to perform a “safe medical procedure” on any pregnant women. The next year, hundreds of weirdo babies were born. About 10% of them didn’t survive past their first 6 months, but those who did were outcasts, having features uncommon among humans. Sally “Slick” Niles was one of those outcasts. She was given DNA from some reptiles that made her tongue long and stick, her teeth sharp and her skin color mercurial. She was one of the lucky ones. Being a genetic “freak”, she didn’t have many legitimate career choices, but that didn’t matter because she was really talented at illegitimate business. She became a drug dealer then a tech dealer then an arms dealer. She eventually was offered a steady gig with the Resistance, who offered to help her pay back the company that had messed with her neighborhood. She took it and hasn’t looked back. At least until she met with an offer so good she couldn’t refuse. She would become an aristocrat among the System’s elite, finally fitting in and making herself an unspendable amount of money. All she had to do was help her cohorts kill Sin.

Baker Johnson:

Mechanics are always unappreciated. This is especially true when under the heel of a tyrannical company known as the System. Baker Johnson was a really good mechanic, but he never got the life he wanted. He worked day-in and day-out making, fixing and redesigning mechs. He did it because he loved it, but he began to hate himself when he thought about who he was helping. He began to express his distaste for the System online, anonymously of course. He was reached out to by a woman who called herself Sin. She asked if he wanted to fix mechs for good instead of for evil. He was more pragmatic than seeing the System as truly evil, but the thought of making a difference in the fight for freedom was too tempting. He took the offer and became one of the Resistance’s best mechanics. While tinkering with one of the scrap heaps looted from a System disposal site, Baker found a chrono-shield, able to pause time in an area to prevent actions from being taken.

Officer Brian Killinger:

Life isn’t easy as a cop. Long hours, shitty situations, and more and more Officer Brian Killinger felt like he was doing more harm and less good. He was from a family of cops, though, so he felt like this is what he was supposed to do. A few years ago, though, he met a young man who changed his life. He was on patrol as part of the “squatter squad”, policemen who regularly patrolled for bums and took them out. He hated this duty, but he had given his commander lip and earned squatter squad for the week. He found one group of bums along with his partner and they started to do their job, firing at the bums. Killinger preferred to fire above them, but his partner took joy in seeing the bums go down. He caught one of the squatters by the arms, a young kid synth, maybe 16. He’d take the kid in, sparing him from his partner at least for today. The kid tried to fight, but he wasn’t very strong, then he tried to give Killinger the slip, but he wasn’t very fast either. Suddenly, though, just before he could cuff the kid, a flashbang went off and some Resistance punks showed up. Killinger’s partner took out a couple, but then got taken out himself, and a heavy club hit Killinger over the head. He woke up to the face of a woman cyborg, her face half metallic. She was arguing with another woman on a monitor. The cyborg seemed to be arguing against killing him, claiming he hadn’t aimed to kill. After that he was given a choice: join the Resistance or be put down. He joined the Resistance and eventually met the kid who he had nearly taken. His name was Marcus-813 and he was a pretty good kid. As part of his requisitions during your last shift, Killinger grabbed a medigel/omnigel gun. It will fix a bleeding-out person or a broken synthetic so long as its applied just after the wound is taken.

Terra Nightingale:

The System had wars to fight. Not the old kind, where men go out and try and shoot each other (though that did still happen sometimes), but the new kind, where people try to control the ideology of the populace. Terra Nightingale was intimately familiar with this kind of war. Born with incredible aptitude and charisma, she was a child prodigy in tactics, psychology and leadership. She was sent to the best military academies and trained in espionage, counter-intelligence and squad combat. Terra enjoyed the challenges put in place by her supervisors, seeing it all as one big game. She ordered squads to take out families with ease, knowing it would bring her closer to victory. After a while, though, she realized something that began to bug her: She was on the winning side. She began to feel less and less challenged as the System took more and more control until one day she became actively bored with her job. That’s when an idea struck her. She left her office as usual, packed all of her things into a couple of bags and went to a location where she knew the Resistance would be planning a raid. She sat in a back alley behind their target– which she knew they’d be using as their entrance — and waited for them to show up. A scrawny man– EC201: The Assassin, a mountain of a man — EC322: The Fixer, and a disguised android– EC255: The Butler all stopped in their tracks when they saw her. She was quite a sight, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, a pair of rolling suitcases sitting next to her. She had set up a folding chair in the middle of the alley and was drinking a lemonade. “Hello, Alphonse,” she said to the android. “I’m Terra Nightingale. I’ve caused the death of 103 members of the Resistance and countless more non-combatants.” The squad recoiled at that, having heard of the Spymaster. “I’d like to join the losing side. Seems more… entertaining.” After that, and a very long interview process, Terra became the tactician of the Resistance and regained the love of the game.

Sam Wheeler:

Some people are good at lying. Deception is a craft to some, an art to others, but to Sam Witcher, it was his life. He never got past high school, but he decided one day to become a doctor. Sam had always wanted to be a doctor. Rather than taking the normal route, he just showed up at a hospital in the uniform and began to do work. He decided being a doctor was too sticky, so he became a policeman. Sam had always wanted to be a policeman. He showed up to work as a transfer and became one of the top detectives within a year. It was only after Officer Frank Lyon had been missing a year when they realized that all of his busts were set-ups. It took another year for them to sort out who actually did the crimes. Years of new identities took him deep within the System’s janitorial staff, gaining high-level clearance. On his way home, the janitor named Nathaniel Scott received an info-chip from a man who bumped into him. On the chip was a message “We know who you are, Sam. We want to be friends. You have something we want and we have resources you could use. -Sin” Sam decided then and there to be a spy. Sam had always wanted to be a spy.

Joseph Kanjo:

Classic skills are often overlooked. Sure, an expert hacker can get you through a triple-layer security firewall, but she can’t get past a regular wooden door. That’s where Joseph Kanjo comes in. He’s been in the game for longer than most of the Resistance has been alive. He’s seen the rise of the System and the fall of the government. He’s got experience in most things, but his specialty is old-fashioned security. He can get into nearly any building and even though he’s past his prime, he can take out a security guard or two on the way. Joseph joined the Resistance when it was just a bunch of angry concerned citizens protesting the new policies being allowed by the government. Now he’s seen his share of death and he’s tired, but he won’t stop fighting ‘til he’s 6 feet under, and maybe not even then. Recently, Joseph picked up an analysis chip. Nobody else knows about it, and he’s glad he’s kept it hidden, because things just started looking grim.

Story

Day 1 – Welcome to the Resistance

Another hard night of fighting the System on all fronts leaves the freedom fighters of the Resistance exhausted. Dawn is in a few hours, and they’re about ready to collapse when suddenly they hear the alarms go off. The outer hatches slam shut and all of the primary lights shut off, leaving only the red emergency lights. A few of the fighters turn on their flashlights.

“What’s going on?” asks Marcus nervously.
“Probably just a faulty wire. This place is held together with duct tape,” replies Patience.
“I’m afraid not this time, Patience,” replies a voice over the PA. Everyone recognized the voice as Sin, the elusive leader of the Resistance.
“Wait, that’s coming from the PA. That’s an internal system,” says Machina, piecing things together. “Are you in the building, boss?”
A moment passes, then “Yes” echoes over the PA. It sinks in that this is the closest any of them have ever been to Sin. She hasn’t been seen since beginning the Resistance, communicating exclusively through videophone and messages.
“Why?” asks Joseph, almost annoyed. “After all these years, why now??”
“There was something I had to be sure of,” replies Sin, “and now I am. Though I suspect that was part of the plan. I’ve discovered that three people here are working for the System. I don’t know which of you it is, but I know they’re in that room. I’ve closed off all exits until I can be sure we’re free of traitors.”

As the group begins looking at each other, Terra speaks up, “Sin, if you’re in the building, you’re taking a huge gamble here. If the traitors are able to take enough of us out, they can force their way into the security room, which, of course, is where you are, and…” she leaves the thought unfinished.
Sin responds somberly, “I know, Terra. My life is in your hands.”

After an hour or so of talk, Jack Freedom goes to relieve himself. When he returns, he seems very concerned. “Uh, guys… is there a reason for the self-destruct sequence to be on the utility monitor?”

Concerned, a group of them heads to the utility hallway and takes a look. On the screen, they see “To confirm self-destruct, please present 6 authorized thumbprints.” After some mumbling, they breathe a collective sigh of relief, realizing that there are only 3 traitors.

“System agents aren’t known for their self-sacrificing nature, anyway.” says Slick. “Whoever began this sequence wasn’t planning on escaping alive.”

“Well,” says Gh0st from across the room, “then who turned it on?”

The emergency lights flicker on and off. Over the intercom, Sin says “Bad news, guys. System patrols are on the way, which means we’ll have to go dark. Only life support will be available until they’ve passed. Lights out in 2 hours. Make a decision by then.”

Twilight 1

As Sin gives the 15 minute warning, the group finishes counting their votes. “Looks like it’s Alphonse,” says Joseph.

Alphonse-293 looks at those who voted against him and sighs, the slight modulation to his voice would allow even a child to recognize him as synthetic, but the emotion behind the sigh expose something innately sympathetic about the robot. “Do what you must,” he replies, kneeling before his companions.

A moment of hesitation passes before Officer Killinger reaches for his gun. “Sorry, kid. We have to be sure.” Killinger’s shot passes through the spinal column of the robot, shutting him down for good. He then extracts the memory chip from the Alphonse’s limp head and hands it to Gh0st. Joseph then makes sure to destroy the thumbs of the dead bot, tossing them in a food processor.

A few minutes pass in silence as Gh0st reads through the files, some other members standing behind her to make sure she’s not lying. “Trox trox TROX!” She ejects the chip and throws it on the ground. “He’s clean.”

Felixir/Alphonse-293 is dead. He was a Freedom Fighter [Vanilla Town]

The lights go out as the final proximity alert sounds. Everything goes quiet.

Day 2 – The Beginning of the End

A few hours pass in the darkness. Everything is silent, save for the occasional barely-audible whisper. A few of the fighters try to get some shuteye while others move around, trying to stay aware of their surroundings. Suddenly, a brief clatter is heard. A metallic noise and something falls. It sounds suspiciously like a body. As someone whispers “What was that?”, the noise alert LED blips. A cry is stifled and another thump is heard. The group is on edge as they wait for another patrol to pass.

A collective sigh of relief is felt as the last of the proximity alerts turns off and the lights flicker back on. As their eyes adjust to the light, they find what they had feared. Joseph Kanjo’s body lies mangled by the sink. It appears that he was beaten over the head from behind with a fire extinguisher.
“Search him,” says Selina, somberly. As they look through his pockets, one of the fighters finds a broken Analysis Chip.
“He’s clean, besides this,” says Baker. “It looks like he was using it to look for traitors. But…” he says, moving Kanjo’s hands to the view of everyone else, “no thumbs.”

Joseph Kanjo/Roswulf is dead. He was a Resistance Analyst [Town Cop].

As the thought lingers, Slick notices a blood trail by Terra Nightingale’s bunk. The trail leads down a hallway. Inside a closet is the body of Terra, stabbed through the spine.
James sighs and begins searching her. After a minute, he replies “She’s clean except for these,” producing a pair sealed envelope addressed to “Red” and “Blue” both with addresses in the capital. On the “Red” envelope is a sticky note which reads “When I’m dead, mail these to Red and Blue. No need to read them.”
“Thumbs?” asks Selina.
“None,” replies James, showing Terra’s thumbless hands.

Terra Nightingale/Flaxon Jackson is dead. She was a Freedom Fighter [Vanilla Town].

The group looks at each other. Their suspicions have been confirmed and they need to find the traitors or else they’re all dead.

Several hours pass as the group argues back and forth about who is acting the most suspiciously. Some of them look at the Red and Blue letters, a couple of them commenting on whether or not they should send them or open them, and what information might be inside. As some of the votes come in, Sin says over the PA “I’ve got incoming chatter. Looks like another patrol will be here in less than 3 hours. Not enough time for our messenger to get those letters out. Guess we’ll have to wait until after the patrol. Place them in one of the men’s lockers and one of the women’s lockers while the lights are out.

During the night, the letters will be placed in two separate lockers. It’s possible for any member to break into one (and only one) of these lockers, but it will take some effort. If a letter is taken, it can be read or kept safe. During the night, everyone will tell me “Red”, “Blue” or “Neither” in their QT. If two people attempt to grab the same letter, there is a chance that they will bump into one another, revealing to each other their identities. The letter will go to a coin flip (or die roll with 3+ people), whether or not they bump into one another. When day breaks, the letters will either be in their lockers, in someone’s hand, or destroyed.

Twilight 2

Sin gives the 15 minute warning again. Marcus-813 counts the votes and looks at Max Wheeler.
“I’m sorry, but it’s you, Max,” he says.
Max looks around, at each of those who voted against him in particular. Maybe trying to make some of them fidget. None of them look away.
“I’ll execute him,” says Sam Witcher, “I’ve always wanted to be an executor.”
Max kneels down, and Sam walks away for a moment and comes back with a fireaxe. “Make sure not to aim too high, the cyberbrain is at the base of the skull,” says Max, finally tearing up. “Goodbye friends. I don’t hate you. Goodbye traitors, I hope you burn for this.”
The ax comes down with a sickening snap as it severs Max’s spinal column. Gh0st promptly gets sick on the floor.
Mach1n4 waits a moment, then reaches into his computer gear. He finds the cord necessary, and passes it to Officer Killinger. “Could you… plug it in?” he asks, plugging the bus port into his computer. Killinger moves around the body tissue and plugs the cord in.
A few minutes pass, as Mach1n4 goes through his memories and files.
“Well. Trox. He’s clean. We’ve killed another innocent.”

Admirax/Max Wheeler is dead. He was a Freedom Fighter [Vanilla Town]

The lights go out as the final proximity alert sounds. Everything goes quiet.

Day 3 – A Sinking Ship

 

All is quiet as thoughts race through each of the Resistance fighters’ minds. Who could have betrayed them and killed their friends? Who could they trust? Why was someone trying to blow them all up? What’s in those letters?

The usual silence becomes more and more sinister as the patrols pass above the base. They wait for the sound of an attack. Then, they hear it. A sickening crack is heard, followed by some small metallic objects scattering to the floor. A few minutes pass and a nearly inaudible exclamation is heard. Then, silence returns. The last of the proximity LEDs turns off and the lights come back on.

The body of Mach1n4 lies next to his bunk. His broken laptop next to it. All 104 keys scattered around, some of them embedded into his skull. He was apparently killed by his own laptop.

“Trox,” says Marcus-813, “killed by the thing he loved the most. That’s ironic, right?”

“Probably,” says James Berthaw, “But mostly it’s sad. Let me guess: no thumbs?”
James’s guess is right, as they see Mach1n4’s thumbs have been removed.

Gh0st takes this as an opportunity to go through Mach1n4’s files to see if he was a double agent, using his desktop rather than the now-defunct laptop. After some time looking through, she says “He’s clean.”

Mach1n4/Otakunomike is dead. He was a Freedom Fighter [Vanilla Town].

The group looks around. There are only 11 of them left, but they still have 4 traitors in their midst. Things were looking worse by the minute.

All is quiet as thoughts race through each of the Resistance fighters’ minds. Who could have betrayed them and killed their friends? Who could they trust? Why was someone trying to blow them all up? What’s in those letters?

Jack opens the Red letter and reads it aloud. It begins with “Dearest R,” and goes into some poetics. From what you can tell, Red appears to have been an old classmate of Terra’s. Not just that, but from the explicit memories referenced, Red and Terra apparently had a bit of a sexual history. Officer Killinger puts his hands over Gh0st’s ears one or two times when “flower” is used in place of something obvious. The poems begin to take a slightly darker tone, repeating worst like “knife” and “betrayal”. Finally, one of the poems breaks down part-way through a sentence: “and the crimson— You know what, I’m done making this subtle. Fuck you, Red. I know this was you. It’s so troxing obvious.

Well, I’d like to congratulate you on your victory in this battle, but offer my condolences at the loss of the war. Our mutual friend was always a bit smarter than you, and with a bit of guidance, she’ll be mopping up the blood of System soldiers for the next decade. Unlike me, B doesn’t get bored when she wins. She could never read you very well, but I’ve given her a map. This whole time, I’ve been playing soft, making a game out of our plays and counter-plays. But now that I can’t have fun with it, it’s time to end our game.

I’ll see you in Hell. I’m sure I won’t have to wait very long.
-T”

Sin broadcasts over the PA “Okay, we’ve got about 2 hours or so before mail needs to be delivered. Grab the letters from the lockers.”

As they open the lockers, they find the women’s locker empty, as expected. They open the men’s locker and find it empty as well. The Blue Letter is gone. A search begins through everyone’s bunk. After a few minutes it turns up in Sam Witcher’s bunk. It looks like the seal was broken, then resealed.

After some voting, Witcher reads the Blue letter aloud.The letter begins curtly “B. I know we don’t see eye to eye, but I have an offer you won’t be able to refuse. An opportunity of sorts. Since you’re reading this, I have some bad news: I’m dead. R killed me. Not only that, but she’s the Spymaster for the System now. The good news is, the Resistance just got a huge opening. Enclosed is an encrypted channel which you can use to contact Sin. If she does not reply within a week, that’s probably bad. Use the secondary line. That will give you Sin’s replacement. Besides this prestigious offer, I have something else: a way for you to beat R. You and R locked horns a lot in school, but R tended to come out on top. That’s because you couldn’t read her underhanded nature. This is how you beat her…” then a very thorough description of R’s background, weaknesses, tactics, common ploys, worst fears is listed in detail. Following that is B’s biggest weaknesses and how to fix them.
“…Take the offer, B. Kick R’s ass, then kill her for me. You’ve always been better, now it’s time to prove it.
-T”

A few moments pass, then Baker grabs both letters, reseals them and puts them in the pneumatic tube to be mailed. A sinking feeling passes over the fighters. It’s probably not good that the System agents in the room read that. They’ll have to make sure to kill them, or the Resistance might truly be finished.

A sigh comes over the PA “Another patrol is scheduled in a few hours. Find the traitors. Please.” Sin seems to be losing confidence. Things aren’t looking good. If the group doesn’t guess right, the traitors might get a majority, which does not bode well.

Twilight 3

The vote tally rises as the timer on Gh0st’s monitor counts down. On the 15 minute mark, they count out the vote. The majority favors Sally “Slick Niles.

“Huh. Well I guess it’s me this time,” says Slick, “Well, no use running I guess.”

She asks for a moment to think of something to say, which the others grant. Slick’s hands move over her face, then subtly, she grabs something from behind her ear. In a split second, the needle flies toward Selina Jackson’s head. In that same moment, Officer Brian Killinger reacts by drawing his weapon and landing three shots into Slick’s center of mass. She goes down in a thud.

Luckily Selina still had her mask on, as the needle buries itself deep into the beak of her mask, nearly touching her lips. Selina removes her mask and looks at the needle. It has some kind of substance oozing out of the hollow tip. “Poison,” she figures.

“Search her,” says James Berthaw, “and see if she’s still alive.”

Baker Johnson checks her pulse. “Dead,” he says and begins to look through her belongings.

After a few minutes, he finds nothing of note. He instructs Gh0st to look away for a moment, as he cuts a hole in the top of Slick’s spine. He then plugs in one of Mach1n4’s cables and hands it to Gh0st. She begins to hack away.

It takes her a bit longer to sort through memories, human cyberbrains not within her normal range, but she manages to uncover a memory that confirms their beliefs. They see a meeting between Slick and a woman in a rouge pantsuit. “So you see, Miss Niles, you will have not only more wealth than you’ve ever seen, but something those Resistance scum could never give you: Acceptance.” As they shake hands, the memory fades.

the good king snugglewumps/Sally “Slick” Niles is dead. She was a System Agent [Mafia Goon]

Once the memory is done playing, Officer Killinger notices Gh0st’s display. “Shouldn’t we have gone dark a few minutes ago? What’s happening?”

This sends the group into action, manually shutting the lights out and beginning to speak in whispers. Gh0st slams on the Security room hatch “Sin. Sin are you okay? Sin?!” inside she can hear a small alarm noise. Several minutes pass in agony, as the entire team waits for Sin to answer, to tell them something.

Then, over the PA, “Oh sorry, I fell asleep. We’re all clear for another 10 minutes.”

There is a breath of relief followed by some laughter followed by some shouting at Sin.

“What kind of trox-up leader falls asleep on the job?” asks Marcus-813, still laughing, “We thought you died!”

“It’s both encouraging and disheartening to find out you’re only human, Sin,” says Selina.

The moment of levity passes as Sin says “Alright guys, time for lights out. Be safe.”

The lights go out as the final proximity alert sounds. Everything goes quiet.

Day 4 – The Resistance Strikes Back

After hours and hours of deliberation and stress, everyone is exhausted. As the lights go out, several fighters simply collapse. Others try to stay up, but their eyes eventually close, having nothing to focus on besides the occasional proximity LED.

About halfway through the night, there is the sound of someone choking, followed by some thuds and a snap. Most of the group awakens, sitting on guard in their bunks.

A few more hours pass in complete silence. Each of the fighters wonders who was taken out tonight, and if there would be a second victim.

The last proximity LED turns off and the lights flick back on. The contorted corpse of Patience Valentino awaits them; a scowl on her strangled face, the green LED in her eye turned off for good. She has a deep gash in her throat from some kind of wire. Her neck is turned at an unnatural angle. Even a cyborg couldn’t survive that kind of damage. To no one’s surprise, her thumbs are gone.

“There is a knife in her hand. Perhaps she tried to fight back,” says Jack Freedom, “No blood on it, though.”

“Well, should we have Gh0st check her?” asks Selina.

Gh0st answers by grabbing her computer and the bus cable. “At least she’s a cyborg. Her port’s on the outside,” she says, plugging into the back of Patience’s skull.

While Gh0st searches her memories, Officer Brian Killinger takes a look at her body. “Cause of death is obvious, but… what’s this?” He produces a chip from Patience’s corpse.

“Looks like an advanced Neurohacking chip,” says Gh0st, “With some expertise, it can disable systems in even a normal human. Maybe she was—” Gh0st cuts herself off as one of the memories begins to play.

Patience’s eyes open in a strange white room. “Wh-what happened?” she asks. “Where–WHERE AM I?!” Patience’s voice becomes scared. “What’s on my head? What did you do to me?!” She gets up and looks around, tries a door, which works. Patience runs down a similarly white hallway. From a door near the end, a man in a white lab coat appears, followed by a woman in a rouge pantsuit.

“Calm down. Miss Valentino. You’ll rip your stitches,” says the man.

A mechanical whirring is heard as Patience grabs the man by the throat and shoves him against a wall, breaking several tiles. “What. Did. You. Do?” she asks, gyros whirring as she tightens her grip.

“Well, now’s as good a time as any to test it,” says the woman, waving away a few armed security agents who appear. “Muskrat. Silph. Strongman. Archangel. Coliseum.–”

“What are you—? Why are you saying those words?” asks Patience as her grip on the man loosens.”

“– Albino. Dolphin. Workflow. Diamond.”

As the woman in rouge finishes, Patience drops the doctor, turns to the woman and asks calmly, “What are my orders?”

“You are to act as Patience normally would, but when you find Sin’s location, you will work with the other agents to seek her out and kill her. Eliminate any targets you deem necessary.”

“Yes, ma’am,” comes a slightly colder version of the voice they had known as Patience Valentino.

The memory fades.

“What the trox,” says Baker Johnson, covering his mouth, “What did they–”

“I– I don’t know,” says Gh0st, shaken, “I don’t know.”

Patience Valentino/Molly_Grue is dead. She was a System NeuroHacker [Mafia Roleblocker].

Despite it being ostensibly good news that another of the moles is dead, the group can’t help but feel shaken by Patience’s loss. If even Patience, who was born into the Resistance, could be turned, who was safe?

Twilight 4

Time passes once more and voting comes to an end.Some fingers are pointed, but it comes down to Sam Witcher.

“Oh. I guess I’ll be the victim of injustice this time. I’ve always wanted to be the victim of injustice,” says Sam with his usual somewhat discomforting earnestness.

James grabs the ax that Sam had used on Max, “This seems appropriate,” he says. “Any last words?”

Sam thinks for a moment then says “I’d say I forgive you, but I don’t think I do. So I guess I’ll go with–” he takes a dramatic leap forward, startling James. “AVENGE ME!!”

The ax comes down on Sam’s spine. A sickening crunch followed by the final exhale of Sam Witcher.

Baker Johnson gets to work on the back of Sam’s neck. “I feel like we should probably wash this soon,” he says as he plugs in the cable.

Gh0st takes a few minutes to go through his memories as Marcus-813 goes through his clothes.

“Besides six different types of lighters and 34 different business cards, I got nothing,” says Marcus.

Gh0st sighs, “Nothing here either. I guess he really was a victim of injustice.”

Sam Witcher/creeper is dead. He was a Freedom Fighter [Vanilla Town].

The loss hurts, but they had already lost so many friends that they felt hollow. “Sorry guys, they’re here,” says Sin, somberly.

Day 5 – After the Quiet Night

The lights go out as the final proximity alert sounds. Everything goes quiet.

The fighters sit in silence as the System patrols pass overhead. The silence is deafening. Everyone is on guard, trying to hear even a footfall. A few times someone goes to the bathroom or moves around a bit. Someone knocks over a broom, which makes everyone jump in their bunks, followed by a barely-whispered “sorry”.

A few hours pass with nothing happening.

Someone sneezes.

A few more hours pass with almost no sound.

The last proximity LED turns off and the lights flick back on. Everyone looks around. They perform headcount. Nobody is dead.

Twilight 5

The fighters begin pointing fingers and soon most are suspicious of James Berthaw. He steps forward and admits his crimes. He attempts to bargain, but Officer Killinger argues against him.

An hour or so of discussion happens, but the fighters grow impatient, “We know he’s killed our friends. He needs to die. I appreciate the candid confession, though,” says Jack Freedom.

“Well, I may have killed your friends, but you and your stupid war killed my brother. You all deserve to burn,” shouts James. Then he dashes forward and grabs Officer Killinger’s sidearm. Baker reaches for his nailgun, but his reaction is too slow. In one swift motion, James Berthaw takes the gun from Killinger’s holster, presses it against his own skull, and blows his brains out, covering Killinger in blood and brain matter.

James Berthaw/Harvey Dent is dead. He was the Terrorist [Serial Killer].

Gh0st promptly loses her lunch. As the scene unfolds, suddenly, the lights go out and the proximity LEDs flash. An unscheduled patrol is just above them.

The quiet is occasionally interrupted by an unsteady drip coming from Killinger’s uniform. Everyone is careful to find their bunks and put up their guard.

Day 6 – The Rat Trap

The oppressive silence and darkness feel like forever, with each fighter on guard, some of them guarding each other.

The last of the LEDs goes off and the lights flick back on.

“Everyone got their arms and legs?” asks Jack Freedom, “Oh, and thumbs?”

Selina responds with a thumbs up and an eye-roll. She had taken off her mask during the night. Something about it wasn’t working and it was making her light-headed.

Nobody died. The next vote would begin shortly.

Twilight 6

The group comes together.

“Who did you use your chrono-shield on last night?” asks Jack Freedom.

“Marcus,” replies Baker Johnson. The entire room turns toward Marcus-813.

“It wasn’t me. It was the kid,” Marcus exclaims and grabs Gh0st.

Officer Killinger draws his gun, Baker his nailgun, Jack crouches and prepares to jump, off to the side, Selina Jackson looks through her grenades for something that works on synths.

“Stop! Don’t move or I blow myself and this kid!” shouts Marcus. His eyes begin to glow a neon blue. They had seen enough synths blow up in their time to recognize this as no idle threat. They lower their weapons, trying to think of a way to end this without letting Gh0st die.

“You Resistance scum think you’re fighting for freedom, but you’re wrong. The System works just fine without interference. Think how many lives we save just by making everyone work together! All you scads do is slow us down and kill innocents. You don’t fix anything. You wouldn’t know how to run this government!”

Marcus sees that they aren’t listening to his logic. “What do you want? Money? We control the money! Power?! Power is what we wield. There has to be something!! There… has… to……b……..”

Marcus’s eyes fade and he collapses. Gh0st spits on his body. “Permanent shutdown, motro!” She reveals the keypad on her wrist.

“Trox. I was in a hurry so I don’t know how much of his memories were saved.” says Gh0st. “Sorry.”

Killinger tousles her hair. “It’s fine. You did good, kid.”

Marcus-813 is dead. He was a System Agent [Mafia Goon].

Epilogue

A few weeks pass after the System Infiltration. The Resistance has brought in a few recruits to cover those who died and those who needed a break.

Killinger comes in to the base to report on his latest findings. He’s been promoted in his police gig, so he’s wearing a Lieutenant’s badge now.

In one corner he sees Jack teaching a new recruit how to take off the face plate of a standard battle robot. The recruit is no more than thirteen, but he seems to be taking to the training well.

Off by the medical supplies, Killinger sees Selina working on a new grenade. She has two new assistants. He’s pretty sure she’s hitting on both of them, but it’s hard to tell with the mask.

Baker is fixing one of their new mechs. It’s a unique prototype Killinger helped them nab. Nobody can pilot it as well as Baker. It’s like it was made for him. His copilot seems that way too, the way she works the nav program and missile systems like a pro. Killinger’s pretty sure they’re an item, but Baker’s lips are sealed.

Finally, he spots Gh0st. She’s working at Mach1n4’s desk again. Jack asked her several times before if she wanted to move his hardware to her desk, but she won’t let him touch anything, saying “not until I’m done. Not until it’s finished. I owe him that.”

“Hey, kid. Anything to report?” he asks. Gh0st ignores him, as usual. “Still cracking that brain?” No response.

Killinger is about to walk away when he hears, “Oh. Oh shit. I got it.”

“A memory?” he asks, turning back toward the desk.

“All of them. Since he was a kid!” replies Gh0st, drinking some more of her soda.

“Well that should prove useful. Good job, child.”

The voice comes from the entrance. It’s not one Killinger recognizes. His hand goes to his hip reflexively. “Oh, no need for that, Office– Oh, no, it’s Lieutenant Killinger now, isn’t it?” As he turns around, he sees a woman in an icy blue floor-length dress, with jet-black hair and blue eyes hidden behind round metal-framed glasses. It’s quite an unusual sight among the crowd of T-shirts, overalls and military outfits.

“Who’s that?” Killinger whispers to Gh0st.

“Not sure,” Gh0st whispers back.”Hey,” she says louder, “Who’re you?”

“I am Beatrix Isolde, but you can call me ‘B’,” she says.

From the monitor Sin’s voice says “Everyone, welcome our new strategist. She was Terra’s choice for a replacement, as some of you may know already.” Killinger can’t see Sin’s face, but he’s sure she’s giving one of her standard disapproving glares. “She comes from the same academy as Terra, and was only two ranks behind her. I expect you to treat her with respect and the usual level of suspicion.”

B gives a slight bow to Killinger, then looks past him to Gh0st. “Girl. You have the android’s childhood memories? With those, some unique firepower,” she looks around at the mech, the medical grenades and the torn-apart battle robot, “and my new plans, we might, perhaps, have a chance to win this thing.”

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